Hyundai Motor Group’s sales in the European Union improved last month, beating Ford Motor Company and ranking fourth in terms of market share. Helped by robust sales of sport utility vehicles, it was the only company out of the top 10 global carmakers that saw its sales grow last month. Anticipation builds as to whether it will be able to maintain this trend both in the U.S. and European markets.
Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors sold a combined 82,667 vehicles in Europe last month, a 0.5 percent increase from a year earlier, according to the European Automobile Manufacturer’s Association (ACEA) Monday. The South Korean automakers saw their market share rise by 0.3 percent to 6.7 percent, outperforming Ford, which took 6.4 percent of the total.
“A sharp rise in sales of SUVs such as the Hyundai Kona and the Kia Niro helped the group to boost its sales in the European market, where competitors have seen sagging sales,” a Hyundai official said. The Kia Morning and Ceed, particularly, were models that drove up the company’s overall sales.
In contrast, car sales in the European Union dropped 4.6 percent year-on-year to 1,226,446 units last month, extending its declining streak to five months since last August. “The enforcement of the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) in Europe, which regulates emissions of diesel vehicles, has affected the sales in the region,” said Song Seon-jae, a researcher at Hana Financial Investment.
It is an encouraging development for Hyundai and Kia that their sales, mostly lifted by SUVs, bounced back in Europe and the United States. The Hyundai Santa Fe and Tucson, and the Kia Sorento and Sportage were especially popular in the U.S. market. The South Korean group sold a combined 79,396 units in the United States last month, up 3.3 percent from the previous year.
Still, if the United States decides to impose stiff tariffs on imported automobiles, it would pose a risk to Hyundai and Kia. According to the Korea International Trade Association, the U.S.’ auto tariff of up to 25 percent could lead to the reduction of South Korean carmakers’ imports to the country by around 160,000 units a year.